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What Is Typical Puppy Behavior?


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We got our greyhound Jax when he was 4 months old. He is now about 19 months old. He is our first dog/puppy and our kids love him (kids are 9, 10, and 11). Unfortunately we have no idea what is considered "normal" puppy behavior as no one we talk to has ever seen a greyhound puppy much less worked with training them. We have a wonderful trainer but only about 1/2 of her techniques work. We can not get him to stop trolling or stealing items from the table/counter - especially pencils, dish towels, or socks. He doesn't respond quickly to his name. He definitely seems more interested in what he wants to do rather than what you want him to do. He knows what the no-no's are but just doesn't care to obey. He's definitely not a dog who wants to please you. There are many wonderful characteristics but we are trying to figure out if the good out weigh the bad. What is normal for a greyhound? Will he outgrow some off the things that are driving us crazy or is this just his personality?

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Everything you're talking about is normal *dog* behavior, not just greyhounds. If your trainer is ineffective at helping you stop these behaviors it's time to find a new trainer. Not every trainer will be effective with every dog, so find one who works for all of you.

 

Most sighthounds, and particularly greyhounds, have been bred for hundreds of years to do what they do completely independently of any human cooperation. Whether they are hunting or racing, they do it without the need for reinforcement from us. So it's up to the humans to figure out that side of the relationship.

 

We've had two greyhound puppies - the first one, Lilly, will be 8 years old this year, and the second, Atom, will be 1 next month. Greyhounds are no harder to train than other dogs, but there are a few keys.

 

Number 1: Only positive reinforcement training. Period. Occasionally a negative reinforcer, like squirt bottle or coin pop can, will be needed, but consistently rewarding the behavior you want, and ignoring or redirecting from the behavior you don't will eventually extinguish it.

 

If he's picking up items *you* leave lying around, then learn to put them away. Don't leave items out on counters. Tuck electrical cords out of reach. Close doors to rooms you don't want him "shopping" in. Again, these rules aren't specific to greyhounds or puppies. These are dog rules.

 

Number 2: Find what motivates your dog. Not all dogs respond to the same reward. If your dog is food motivated at all, it should just be a matter of discovering a high enough value treat that he responds to consistently. If he's not food motivated you should explore other rewards like a squeaky toy, or ball. Even play time and physical attention can be used if that's what your dog responds to. Again, your trainer should be helping you with that.

 

See if your adoption group has any suggestions for a different trainer. Do your due diligence and research them and their training style, where they learned to do what they do, how much they charge and their guarantees if it doesn't work. Remember, anyone can *call* themselves a trainer without any formal training themselves.

 

Lastly, if your dog is a male, if he's not already, make sure he gets neutered asap. Testosterone can be a real brain scrambler, and gives the dog a whole different set of priorities.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Ditto to the above. I will also say that some of those behaviours are just normal dog behaviours, not necessarily even puppy behaviours. It's up to us as the humans to either train the dog or to manage their environment.

 

I'm a huge fan of training... my dogs compete in agility, disc, and rally obedience. However, there are some behaviours that I frankly just can't be bothered to train... like counter surfing and grabbing random items to play with. I can just manage that with supervision, crates, ex-pens, baby gates and basket muzzles. My puppies are always crated until they get to a point where they can be trusted to spend their time alone mostly just chilling and sleeping. For Kili that was at about 4 years of age, and my youngest is just about to turn 3 and she still goes in a crate. Kili is now graduated out of the crate, but she wears a basket muzzle when she's home alone.

 

My puppies go in ex-pens even when we are home if we're not directly supervising or interacting with them... usually until they're somewhere between 12-24 months of age depending on the dog. And after that... again, they wear basket muzzles a lot of the time. I'm just not interested in training my dogs to stay off my counters and it works for me to use other tools to just manage the behaviour. If you're not interested in having your dog in a muzzle a lot or having baby gates and ex-pens set up strategically around the house, then training might be the better option. But the great thing is that you have the choice to choose what works best for you and your household!

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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You have received some excellent suggestions.

 

I will just add that you need to be very, very consistent with the 'rules'.

This means everyone in the household, including the children. I have grandchildren the same age as your children and I know how easily they get can distracted.

It is not fair to the dog if he is 'tempted' and then scolded for being naughty.

Please don't take offence as of course I do not know you or your family.... I am just going by experiences that I have had.

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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You have received some excellent suggestions.

 

I will just add that you need to be very, very consistent with the 'rules'.

This means everyone in the household, including the children. I have grandchildren the same age as your children and I know how easily they get can distracted.

It is not fair to the dog if he is 'tempted' and then scolded for being naughty.

Please don't take offence as of course I do not know you or your family.... I am just going by experiences that I have had.

 

I agree, consistency is essential. Don't let him get away with anything you don't want him to do even once.

Feed him once from your plate and he'll beg for food every mealtime. Give him a titbit when you're preparing food at the counter and you've got a counter surfer.

When he grabs a pencil etc. a quick firm NO and replace it with one of his toys.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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Great suggestions made above. Live in the present and work him in classes as well as home. Think of having a new dog that you just adopted vs. A puppy that has always been with you. That might make it easier to stick with a new set of rules. Crate, leash, no more free range until he earns it.

 

In a class he will learn recall, how to focus on YOU, body awareness. Also take into consideration he is an adolescent. Crazy times for the large breeds, their brains and bodies are not in sync.

 

Keep him gated in the kitchen with you so you can teach him not to counter surf while you cook. Give him a good marrow bone and a place to chew it and work on a long down stay. I've done it, it helps. Also, your due diligence with goods on counters needs to be at optimun level.

 

Exercise, consistancy a stock of good wine and the knowledge that this is temporary should help you get thru this. BTW, when Felix was an adolescent he had to repeat classes! HE GOT LEFT BACK. The physical strength begins to really develop now!

I adopted Felix at 7 weeks and have had saluki pups. The salukis are crazy but I was much younger. Sone of the juvenile pups that our group rescued were rehomed when they hit adolescence, it is not easy with out boundries.YOU CAN DO IT!

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I just adopted a 2 1/2 year old grey from the track. She is exhibiting many of the same behavior. I second what everone else said. Consistency is important; even the children must make sure they enforce the training. Maggie and I start obedience classes this Saturday to get some rules in place.

 

How much exercise is the dog getting? A busy family with three children probably has a lot of other things going on; however, excercising the dog must be a priority. A tired puppy is a good puppy.

Edited by fionasmom
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